Paralegal Associates Degree
One must always invest in his or her education in order to build a successful career. Obtaining a paralegal Associates Degree is certainly a ticket to success in the paralegal field.
Why become a paralegal?
The paralegal profession is much appreciated in these modern times. The field is evolving and the paralegals are given various tasks, making this job very dynamic. Paralegals conduct complex researches in order to find the facts necessary to put the case together. Their people skills are crucial since they interact with different individuals (clients, witnesses, experts) when trying to get the information that is necessary. The paralegal job is very detail-oriented, and hence it is quite challenging. Paralegals have an essential role in the work of law firms, so they are required to have a thorough knowledge of the legal issues and the way the legal system functions. This is why employers prefer to hire paralegals with strong educational background.
Paralegal Associates Degree Overview
Usually, one can obtain an Associates Degree in paralegal studies in about two years of studying. There are many such programs offered by business schools, two-year community colleges or some four-year colleges and universities, but one should be careful to choose an accredited one, whose program will be according to the recommendations of the National Association of Legal Assistants. The curriculum of these programs usually consists of general education subjects, such as English, business management, psychology, basic mathematics etc.; several subjects concerning the paralegal field, such as criminal law, legal research, legal reading and writing, business organizations, contracts etc. and some specialty courses, that the student chooses depending on the area he or she wishes to specialize in (immigration law, domestic relations, environmental law and so on).
You could obtain a Paralegal Associates Degree by attending a full time program at a college or a university, but you can also find such programs offered on-line, since today many colleges organize this type of studying, thus enabling you to get your Paralegal Associates Degree on-line. Most of these institutions offer scholarship opportunities, student loans and grants, financial aid and other financial assistance, making the Associates Degree more available for people.
Why should you get a Paralegal Associates Degree?
There are many reasons why one should obtain a Paralegal Associates Degree . First of all, these programs will train you and prepare you for a prosperous paralegal career, providing you with knowledge and understanding of the legal environment. You will learn the skills needed on the job and you will be more appreciated by employers, thus you will be able to land a better, more significant job and maybe even be able to choose among job offers. Another reason, of course, is the fact that more educated paralegals are better paid.
The starting salary for paralegals with an Associates Degree is over $30 000 a year and this profession is among the best paid ones for employees with such a degree. Also, you should consider the opportunities that this degree offers. After getting it, you could continue your educational process and go for a Bachelor’s degree, growing into an even more qualified professional and afterwards, if you have aspirations for a career of a lawyer, even finish law school.
Also, having an Associates Degree in Paralegal studies is an obligatory criterion that one has to fulfill in order to be eligible for paralegal certification. This degree is needed for both the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) and the Certified Paralegal (CP) exams offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), as well as for the Paralegal Advanced Competency Examination (PACE) offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). Some of the programs have coursework that are a direct preparation for the CLA/CP examination and some even cover the application fee for this exam and by doing so, do not burden their students taking this exam with additional costs.
Dedication, commitment and hard work are beyond necessary for one to build a successful career in any field. Although very prosperous, growing and rapidly developing, the paralegal field is also very competitive. Taking your education seriously, earning a Paralegal Associates Degree and afterwards maybe continuing with your studies will certainly be a worthy contribution to a successful career.